MIAMI, FL- 11/12/03- Moving at speeds approaching 180 mph, the stars of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series took to the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway and its state-of-the-art, 20-degree, variable banking for the first time today. The drivers were busy...
MIAMI, FL- 11/12/03- Moving at speeds approaching 180 mph, the stars of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series took to the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway and its state-of-the-art, 20-degree, variable banking for the first time today. The drivers were busy preparing for Sunday's Ford 400, the season-finale for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
Although no official speeds were available, unofficial reports from the teams placed speeds from today's session more than 20 mph and nearly five seconds faster than Kurt Busch's winning pole speed of 154.365 last season.
Most teams randomly surveyed in the garage reported running race trim only today. Speeds and times reported were:
Johnny Benson: 30.40, 177.632 mph
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: 30.60, 176.471 mph
Tony Stewart: 30.70, 175.896 mph
Ryan Newman: 30.80, 175.325 mph
Jimmie Johnson: 30.90, 174.757 mph
Dale Jarrett: 31.00, 174.191 mph
"It's a lot faster racetrack," said Jimmy Spencer. "I think it's going to be a pretty good race. I already see two grooves in the track, and I think almost everybody is trying to figure it out, me included. How high can you go in to make a late apex or do you run in really low and let the car run up and come back and diamond it. No one has figured it out yet. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is running really good, and the 18 (Bobby Labonte) looks like he's pretty good."
"It's a definite improvement," said Ricky Rudd. "There should be some interesting racing. It looks like there are two and possibly even three grooves out there. It's very fast right now, but it should be a lot better for racing."
"I'm very excited and very impressed," said Ricky Craven. "I love what they've done and I think it's going to encourage some great racing. The first half of practice was a little strange, but we'll work through some of the challenges as it relates to the track. It is an absolute improvement."
Tickets are going fast, but still available for Ford Championship Weekend by calling 305-230-RACE, 1-800-PITSHOP.COM or by logging onto www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.